03 May 2011

The #no2av campaign's preying on the uneducated

I've just been talking to my dad on the phone. He has a postal vote so has already voted in the referendum.

My dad will be 77 in July. He grew up long, long, before disabled children had any right to be educated. He was ignored in mainstream school and then sent to a segregated college where he was taught nothing much. No-one taught him to read until a family friend took on the challenge when he was 21.

In addition to poor literacy due to no-one bothering to teach him until he was an adult he's almost certainly dyslexic. They didn't do much diagnosing of that during World War II.

In addition to that it's only been in the last 2 and a half years since my mum died that he hasn't had anyone living with him to help him understand things like the instructions on a polling card. He can read well enough to read the names on a card and identify which are his preferences. He can also count to three so would be capable of ranking his preferences in order.

One of the "no" campaign's loudest cries is that AV is too complicated for the masses. That you need to be some kind of genius to work out how to fill in a polling card under AV.

Out of fear that he wouldn't understand how to vote under AV; out of fear that AV is too confusing and too complicated, my father voted "no".

I am furious that the "no" campaign are preying on people like my dad by telling them they're too stupid to understand AV.

If my dad really believed that FPTP was a better system than AV I'd respect his choice. But that's not why he voted "no". The "no" campaign took advantage of his poor education, of his illiteracy, and his almost certain dyslexia by telling him that under AV he wouldn't be able to understand his polling card. They told him he was stupid and he believed it.

How many more people are going to be tricked into voting "no" because the campaign are preying on their poor education, their learning disability or insecurity about their intellect and telling them that they're just not smart enough to get it?


  1. If he his dyslexic then hes probably a lot smarter than those who told him he was stupid.

  2. Anonymous7:18 pm

    Fabulous story, nearly made me cry,

    But, a No vote is the sesible thing to do. Wjether you believe it or not oesn't really matter

  3. The "right" or "wrong" vote really isn't the issue here.

    By telling the electorate that AV is really complex and stupid people won't get it they're just bullying people like my dad. When I explained that it was simply ranking your votes in order of preference he was surprised by how simple it is and that it was something he could grasp.

    Like I said, if he believed that FPTP was a better system than AV that'd wouldn't bother me at all. It's because the 'no' campaign preyed on his poor literacy/lack of education that I'm livid. And I'm wondering how many more people who can't read well/aren't educated/have learning difficulties have been convinced by the "no" campaign that AV is beyond their comprehension.

  4. Very good point! Just one more thing to annoy me about the entire campaign.